Experiments in Pattern Drafting

Recently I’ve been experimenting with pattern drafting for knits. I created a sloper using a well-worn and well-loved old t-shirt as reference. For the first test of my new sloper I used this super soft and drape-y fabric from Girl Charlee and hoped for the best.

And it fit, yay! I sewed it with my serger and finished the neckline and sleeves with bands (set in flat, because it’s way easier than in the round). This shirt is so comfortable.

Because the fabric I used in my first shirt had a lot of stretch I was curious to see how the same pattern would work with a more stable knit. This pink fabric, also from Girl Charlee, is a bit thicker and doesn’t have nearly as much stretch as fabric #1. It ended up being a bit more snug, but definitely still comfortable.

For this persimmon striped fabric (also from Girl Charlee) I had envisioned a Breton-style tee with a boatneck. I altered the neckline by comparing it to my last two shirts and raising it accordingly.

I also wanted to try something different with the sleeves, so I drafted tulip sleeves with the help of this tutorial by Dixie DIY. It was a bit confusing, but I figured it out in the end! I’m pretty happy with how they look, but I wish I had finished the edges with bands rather than just turning under and stitching. As they are, they’re kind of floppy.

That stripe matching at the shoulder seam was just a lucky coincidence!

This last garment is the biggest departure from my original sloper. I saw a similar crossover back woven shirt online and wanted to see if I could recreate it. First I doubled my back pattern piece (because it was on the fold) and then I drew two curves going from the left shoulder to the right side, keeping the shoulder and side seams their original length. I cut two of these pieces and sewed the shirt as usual, just making extra sure that everything was overlapping properly.

This knit (once again from Girl Charlee – are you noticing a pattern here?) is very lightweight and has a great drape.

The neckline is the same as the first two shirts, but it falls a bit lower, which I’m guessing is because there are no sleeves to help hold it up. So on my next version I’ll raise the neckline by an inch or two. I may also make the straps a bit wider in the back.

While making this pattern I made sure that I would still be able to wear a normal bra with it. The dip in the back ends right above my bra strap.

This tank works great as an everyday top for summer, but I think this pattern could also be used for activewear or to create a dressier top for evening.

With all the overlapping, I wasn’t sure how to finish the edges of this tank until I realized it was actually all one continuous line. So I measured the curve all the way around and it came to something like 130 inches. I cut three long strips of fabric, sewed them together to make one very long strip, and attached it by stretching and serging. I didn’t bother with basting.

I left a couple inches of the strip hanging off at the start so I could serge the two ends together at the end, rather than having to come up an exact length for the strip. Happily that worked really well and all the edges are finished! My husband was fascinated that it was all one continuous line, so he put together this gif to visualize it better. Pretty neat, huh!?

I’ve really been enjoying drafting my own patterns, so expect to see more experiments soon! I also have some Jamie Jeans and Anima pants in the works.

Have you tried drafting your own patterns?

<3 Lindsay

Q & A

Since I’ve been double nominated for a Liebster Award by C of Oh, She Dabbles and Zoe of Fozzel and Bean (both really lovely blogs that I highly recommend checking out), I figured I better go ahead and do it! The Liebster is something of a chain letter among blogs, except instead of the threat of your crush never liking you back if you don’t pass it along (the horror!), we get to spread the word about other lovely bloggers! It’s not really an award, but rather an opportunity to interview the creators of your favorite small blogs (under 200 followers).

So, first up are the questions presented to me by C of Oh, She Dabbles:

    1. Why do you sew and when did you start?
    Lots of reasons! Because I love creating, because I hate clothes shopping, because the fit and customization options of self-made clothes are infinitely superior to store-bought, because it’s (sometimes) cheaper, because it’s empowering, because I love to share with and be inspired by other sewists.

    I learned how sew in 2012 when I was living in Portland, OR. I took an introductory class and quickly became hooked. Since then I’ve been self-taught.

    2. How do you get yourself out of a sewing rut?
    I don’t think I’ve even been in one! I sew almost every day and I always have in mind plenty of new projects to make.

    3. What’s your favorite make that you made for someone else?
    Definitely one of the button-up shirts I’ve made for my husband. Probably the Lonesome Dove shirt because of its unique details.

    4. Where do you get your inspiration?
    From my fellow sewing bloggers mainly! Instagram, Bloglovin, Kollabora, Pinterest… Sometimes from ready-to-wear garments or from the fabric itself.

    5. What do you do if you get stuck in your making?
    If I get frustrated I always take a break, otherwise I end up just making the problem worse. I can usually figure it out if I look at it with fresh eyes. A bit of googling always helps as well!

    6. Are you a planner or do you just wing it?
    I rarely buy a fabric unless I have a good idea of what I want to make with it. I have a list and sketchbook of future makes, so I’d say I’m probably a planner ;)

    7. What’s your favorite fabric to sew with (or yarn to knit with)?
    I love rayon challis. Knits are also great because they’re so quick to sew and easy to fit.

    8. What do you do for fun besides making beautiful things?
    My husband and I are both longtime vegetarians, and we really enjoy cooking and coming up with simple, healthy recipes. We also read a lot and do crosswords. We haven’t owned a TV in years, but we’ll occasionally watch a show online. We’ve been attempting to grow herbs and vegetables in a container garden on our deck, with mixed results so far! And I’ve gotten really into pilates lately.

    9. Why did you start blogging?
    I started out by just posting my projects on BurdaStyle. I guess I eventually got frustrated with their site’s technical problems and lack of customization options. I was also happening upon other peoples’ sewing blogs more and more and thinking about carving out a little space of my own. Once I started blogging I found my sense of community with other sewists grew dramatically! I’m so glad to be a part of this amazing, supportive community!

    10. If you were an animal (other than a human), what animal would you be?
    Are nudibranchs animals? Whatever they are, they’re pretty rad.

    And now the questions from Zoe of Fozzel & Bean:

    1. What is your favourite handmade garment to date?
    Tough question! Lately I’ve been wearing my pinstripe sleeveless Archer all the time, so I guess I’ll go with that!

    2. Do you have a favourite pattern? What is it?
    I think I’d have to go with the Archer pattern from Grainline Studios. I’ve made three very different versions of it so far and I love all of them!

    3. Why did you start blogging?
    See #9 above!

    4. What was the first sewing blog you ever read?
    The first clothing I ever made was a knit maxi dress that I dyed coral and hand-sewed. The tutorial was from Sweet Verbena (who no longer seems to blog), and that’s the first sewing blog I remember seeing. I think I found it via Pinterest. That dress wasn’t very flattering on me and it eventually became a lace-trimmed scoop back shirt and a pair of Rosy Ladyshorts!

    5. If time and money were no obstacle, what would be your ultimate sewing project?
    Ooh, that’s a hard one. There’s not really one big thing that I want to sew. Even my wedding dress was pretty simple. I guess I would interpret “project” in a larger sense, and say that I would like my entire wardrobe to be handmade. And if money were no obstacle, I would use all the finest fabrics, like linen and silk.

    Like C and Zoe I went by Bloglovin numbers for my nominations, which are:

    Maike of Sew & Illustrate – I love the illustrations Maike does to go along with her projects!

    Lauren of  Lady Sewalot – Lauren’s only 17, but she’s already such a talented seamstress!

    Rebecca of Everyday Notions – I love Rebecca’s style, and I would totally wear everything she’s made so far!

    Annabella of Bellbird – For a new blogger, Annabella already has a ton of gorgeous makes!

    And my questions for them are:
    1. Why did you start blogging?
    2. What’s one sewing fear that you’ve overcome (knits, zippers, etc.)?
    3. What type of garment is your favorite to sew? Is it also your favorite type of garment to wear?
    4. Do you prefer sewing with indie patterns or traditional patterns?
    5. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

    Please don’t feel any pressure to participate if you don’t want to! And thanks for sticking with me through this long and picture-less post!

    <3 Lindsay

    Double Cloth Chambray

    Last February my husband tagged along with me during the Austin Fabric Shop Hop and picked out a couple fabrics for shirts. I made him one out of the sage-colored chambray he chose in March, and now I’ve finally gotten around to making this one, out of Robert Kaufman double cloth. I bought my fabric from Form & Fabric, but it seems they no longer carry it. It’s also available at fabric.com in a variety of colorways, though I always recommend trying to find it locally first.

    The fabric itself is really interesting – the front side and back side are actually two different fabrics that are lightly connected together. It’s very soft and has an open weave so it’s not too heavy for summer. However, the open weave also means it frays like crazy, so you’ll definitely want to serge the seam allowances. Even so, I ended up with tons of little threads all over the floor.

    I used my tried and true BurdaStyle pattern from their Sewing Vintage Modern book. The only alterations I made were slimming down the collar and drafting my own pocket. I also used the “wrong” side of the fabric on the inner collar stand and right button placket. And I folded down the top of the pocket for a bit of a pop. We experimented with rolling up the sleeves to show the checkered side, but it ended up looking a bit too, er… flamboyant. Subtle is best, I think.

     I know menswear doesn’t get a lot of love in the sewing blogger community, but I really enjoy how all of the details and finishing touches become important when you’re dealing with such a prescribed silhouette.

    Of course I’m also lucky in that my husband is interested in all these little details too, and appreciates the time and effort that goes into making a garment. I can definitely understand not wanting to sew for someone (husband, father, brother, whoever) if they don’t really care about clothing. After all, you know for certain that you’ll appreciate the things you make for yourself!

    So have you sewn any menswear lately? I’d love to see it. Feel free to leave me a link to your project in the comments!

    <3 Lindsay

    Shibori Prefontaine Shorts

    I’m back with another post for the Perfect Pattern Parcel! I’d only planned on doing one, but after seeing all the super cute Prefontaine Shorts popping up around the blogosphere I had to make some of my own! The contrast bias trim and the curved overlapping hem totally won me over.

    I wanted these to be comfy shorts for outdoorsy activities, so I thought linen would be perfect – light and cool for the summer. I was definitely inspired by Holli of Stitched’s use of linen for her Prefontaine shorts as well as Kelli of True Bias’s shibori summer concert tee from PPP #1. This was my first experiment with shibori dyeing as well as my first time working with linen.

    I found the construction method for these shorts really interesting. I’d never thought of using jersey as bias binding before, but it works great and is nice and soft against your skin. The pockets are sewn directly to the front piece, rather than having a pocket bag. If these were dressier shorts I’d probably add one, but as-is they’re fine for sports shorts.

    The pattern comes with two inseam options – 5″ and 1.5″. However, I knew from making shorts in the past that my preferred inseam length is 3″, so using the instructions for shortening to 1.5″, I shortened to 3″ instead. It’s pretty simple – you just have to draw your own shortening line rather than using the included one. I also overlapped the sides by about an inch more than instructed on both sides in order to get a slimmer fit. 

    I left off the back pockets, mainly out of laziness, but also because I didn’t think I’d use them.

    I’ve been curious about shibori dyeing for a while, and I thought this would be a fun pattern to try it out on. I used Dylon dye in ocean blue and this tutorial to dye a piece of linen and a piece of jersey. I dyed the piece of linen using the accordion method, and the jersey (for a future t-shirt) using the pleat and bind method. The great thing about Dylon dye is you can use it in the sink with warm water, rather than having to put it in your washing machine and clean it out later.

    The whole process was quite fun, and cleaner than expected! My fabric didn’t end up quite as dark as I wanted it to, which may be because I didn’t mix the dye thoroughly enough (I found a lot of dye sediment caught in the drain stopper afterwards).

    When my husband and I went on a mini-hike trying to find a good photo shoot location for my Bombshell Swimsuit, I realized I didn’t have any “exercise” clothes. I do pilates at home in Forever 21 bike shorts and old t-shirts cut into tanks, but I don’t have any “real” fitness wear. These shorts will help fill that gap, and I’m also planning on making Papercut’s new patterns: the Pneuma bra/tank and Anima sweatpants.

    Perfect Pattern Parcel #3 is only available through THIS Friday. That means you have two more days to decide! And then, yes, the blog tour will finally be over ;)

    Buy Pattern Parcel #3

    I also wanted to add a quick note about Me-Made-May. About halfway through the month I found that almost all my outfits were repeats, so I didn’t bother to re-document them. I did, however, stick with my pledge of wearing at least one me-made garment a day. In fact, I’ve continued to wear at least one me-made garment a day ever since. Handmade clothing constitutes enough of my wardrobe now that I actually find it hard not to wear something I’ve made every day. And it helps that all of my favorites pieces are things I made myself. I haven’t bought any new clothing (minus socks and camis) since December and last time I walked into a mall I was so thankful I didn’t have to do my shopping there anymore. I’ll take a fabric store over a mall any day! I’m actually planning on going the rest of the year without buying any RTW garments… wish me luck!

    <3 Lindsay

    I received the patterns from PPP#3 free of charge in exchange for being part of the blog tour, but, as always, all of my enthusiasm is genuine, and all opinions are my own.